Agency recruitment levels on the up

Britain’s advertising agencies are staffing up again as the massive job cuts made during the depths of recession turn into serious manpower shortages in the improving economic climate.

Britain’s advertising agencies are staffing up again as the massive

job cuts made during the depths of recession turn into serious manpower

shortages in the improving economic climate.



The upswing is reflected in new census figures from the Institute of

Practitioners in Advertising, which show that 500 more people are

working in IPA member agencies now than were a year ago.



’The pendulum is swinging back,’ John Bartle, the IPA’s president,

said.



’This isn’t just feelgood - it is good,’ he added.



IPA executives say they are heartened by the fact that staff numbers are

swelling because there is an increasing willingness among agencies to

start recruiting trainees again.



Figures released this week by the IPA show that the number of staff

employed by member shops rose from 12,300 to 12,800 in the year to

autumn 1996.



The trend is born out in the growing popularity of IPA courses for

agency beginners. The number of such courses held have risen from 150 to

180 over the past year.



Nick Phillips, the IPA’s director general, said: ’The fact that agencies

are recruiting again at the bottom end is very encouraging because these

people represent the industry’s lifeblood.’



The latest figures are in line with the steadily rising numbers of

agency staffers in IPA shops, which sank to a low of 11,100 at the end

of the recession in 1993.



Nevertheless, the number still lags behind this year’s predicted growth

rate for advertising and is way below the 15,400 figure for people

working in agencies when the industry was at the peak of its

profitability seven years ago.



’Agency managers are still being very cautious and the demand for

greater productivity means numbers will never return to 1989 levels,’

Phillips added. ’Also, agencies are making greater use of part-time

staff.’



But Andrew Robertson, the managing director of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO,

warned that the additional staff might not necessarily be the right

ones.



’I suspect a lot of the hirings are in account management and media,’ he

said. ’That’s not necessarily wrong, but it shouldn’t be at the expense

of creative departments where the cuts were longest and deepest.’



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